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Cherry Village caring for increasing number of hospice patients
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Cherry Village Benevolence has noticed an increase in its number of hospice patients in the last couple of years and believes the trend will continue as the community learns more about the service.

            The long-term-care facility cared for five hospice patients in 2015 and 18 the following year. So far this year, the number is 16.

            “We have had as many as nine hospice patients at one time and are gratified we can help families through this difficult time,” Administrator Pam Lewis said. “Since we understand some families would rather not have hospice care in their homes, we want to be an option.”

            Cherry Village, a non-profit facility, collaborates with Kindred Hospice and Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice to provide round-the-clock care for patients and their families.

            “Our nurses and aides, along with these two local agencies are part of the team that provides end-of-life care,” Lewis said. “Our staff is very sympathetic to the families’ circumstances.”

            A patient must have a life-limiting illness before a physician orders hospice services. Life expectancy is usually up to six months.

            “Sadly, hospice cannot offer a cure; instead, we do all we can to keep a patient comfortable as we care for mind, body and spirit,” Lewis said. “We offer one-on-one care and families are encouraged to visit anytime.”

            The parties involved collaborate with physicians, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, volunteers and non-denominational spiritual coordinators.

            Kindred has worked with Cherry Village for 10 years, said Erin Light, area executive director.

            “We have had excellent experiences with the staff at Cherry Village,” Light commented. “They are incredibly friendly and helpful. The compassion they show and the excellent care they give create a great environment for Kindred staff.

            “Families recognize their loved ones will get excellent care, which means they can return to their roles as family members instead of caregivers. They spend time with their loved ones without added stress.”

            Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice has provided hospice services since 1980 and worked with Cherry Village for many years. GBHH&H is part of the St. Rose Health Center family.

            “Our hospice services in the long-term-care facility give patients extra eyes and ears in the management of their symptoms, while also supporting the nursing staff,” said GBHH&H Manager Donita Wolf. “The staff has a relationship with families, and we can offer support and education.

            “It is very difficult to care for a dying family member at home,” Wolf continued. “It can be exhausting for caregivers to be available 24 hours a day. The long-term-care setting gives families the ability to just be there for their loved ones.”

            Wolf noted that grief support and counseling also are offered.

            A local family has managed Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane, since it opened in 1978. It is a non-profit facility.